Black's Law Dictionary

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Black's Law Dictionary, 7th edition
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Black's Law Dictionary, 7th edition

Black's Law Dictionary is regarded by many as the definitive legal dictionary for the law of the United States. It was founded by Henry Campbell Black. It has been cited as legal authority in some cases. The latest edition, including abridged and pocket versions, are a useful starting points for the layman or student when faced with a completely unfamiliar legal word. It is the reference of choice for definitions in legal briefs and court opinions.

The first edition was published in 1891, and the second edition in 1910 long before the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was completed in 1928. Earlier editions of the book also provided case citations for the term cited, which some lawyers saw as its most useful function, providing a useful starting point with leading cases. For this reason, at least one reviewer considers the seventh edition of Black's Law Dictionary inferior to the sixth edition. Although he acknowledges that it is an excellent dictionary, he sees the removal of case citations from the text as removing a vital part of the book's function. However, the seventh edition includes actual quotations to many noted legal authorities in various areas of law.

Contents

Bibliographic entries

  • Bryan A. Garner, editor, Black's Law Dictionary 8th ed, (West Group, 2004) ISBN 0314151990.
  • Bryan A. Garner, editor, Black's Law Dictionary 7th ed, (West Group, 1999) ISBN 0314228640.
  • Bryan A. Garner, editor, Black's Law Dictionary abridged pocket ed. (West Group, 1999) ISBN 0314257918

Availability

An online version of the latest edition can be accessed through the Westlaw legal information service which is not free. Many research libraries subscribe to either Westlaw or LexisNexis, another legal information giant.

The second edition of Black's Law Dictionary (1910) is presumably now in the public domain. The first edition (1891) has been reprinted by the Law Book Exchange ISBN 0-9630106-0-3, as well as the second edition, ISBN 1-886363-10-2. Oddly, an online version of either edition proves difficult to come by. A google search will locate broken links which would suggest that online versions were once prevalent, but have since been removed. Also, Project Gutenberg does not have Black's Law Dictionary available either.

External links

Some online legal dictionaries

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